The parents of a Massachusetts murder victim are mounting a campaign to discourage the political practice of headline-based crime legislation. Such legislation, typically named after a victim, is often not effective, can target the wrong people, and leaves the community no safer than it was before, said Andrea Casanova, the mother of Alexandra Zapp, 30, who was murdered by a sex offender at a rest stop in Bridgewater, Mass.
In partnership with the RAND Corporation, Casanova and her husband, working through the Ally Foundation created in her daughter's honor, are launching a nonprofit institution that would analyze research done on sexual and violent offenders. The idea is to study recidivism the way scientists study disease: objectively and with an eye toward prevention. The goal is to provide research based on scientific evidence that would guide policy makers and community activists as they draft legislation or strategies to deal with violent perpetrators.